The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Friday that states would not be allowed to host championship events if the confederate flag is a prominent, sanctioned symbol; Mississippi is the only state affected by the ban, as its flag features the banner of the Confederacy.
“There is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the NCAA Board of Governors.
The NCAA previously banned states that prominently display the Confederate flag from hosting events with predetermined locations.
However, a loophole in the rule enabled Mississippi to host championship competitions “if their teams’ performances earned them a sufficiently high seeding or ranking.”
In 2019, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University hosted games in the NCAA’s Division I baseball tournament, and MSU was also the site of some games in the DI women’s basketball tournament.
The new rule expands the ban to include all teams and events, regardless of tournament seeding or ranking.
Via a statewide referendum back in 2001, an overwhelming majority of Mississippi voters favored keeping the state’s flag, which was initially adopted in 1894.
The NCAA announcement comes just one day after the Southeastern Conference told the state of Mississippi it could miss out on hosting SEC championship games if it doesn’t change its state flag. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said, “it is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi. Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all.” Sankey declared, “in the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the State of Mississippi.” Earlier this month, NASCAR announced that the confederate flag would be banned from all their events. According to CNN, a bipartisan group of Mississippi state lawmakers is pushing to remove the emblem of the Confederacy from the Mississippi state flag and have support from at least one influential Republican lawmaker, Philip Gunn, Speaker of the Mississippi House.
“We must continually evaluate ways to protect and enhance the championship experience for college athletes. Expanding the Confederate flag policy to all championships is an important step by the N.C.A.A. to further provide a quality experience for all participants and fans,” said Michael V. Drake.
The NFL has made numerous attempts this month to improve its relationship with black players and fans. In early June, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a remarkable apology, saying in a video message, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.” A few days later, Goodell announced that the league would observe Juneteenth as a company-wide holiday. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump surprisingly said he “would love” to see former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick “get another shot” at returning to the NFL. However, President Trump continues to reiterate he is against players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. “OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high… We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!” he tweeted earlier this month.
N.C.A.A. Pressures Mississippi on Confederate Emblem on State Flag (New York Times)